Our Patients Say it Best

Your friends and neighbors from throughout southwest Michigan and beyond share their experiences at Spectrum Health Lakeland. Do you have a story to share? Click on the "What's Your Story" button and complete the form. 

An Ounce of Prevention - Clara Smith


Oct, 2017

Physicians: Mary Beth Good, PA; Roy Winslow, MD

Clara Smith says she’s turning over a new leaf when it comes to health screenings.“I’ve always been pretty skeptical about all the preventative tests, but not anymore,” said Clara.

The 58-year-old Three Oaks resident says she never skipped a check-up with her Southwestern Medical Clinic provider, Mary Beth Good, PA. Clara just didn’t always follow-up on Good’s recommendations.

“She’s been after me for years to get a colonoscopy,” said Clara. “When I finally went to get one, I was shocked with what they found, because I felt fine!”

The test showed Clara had a tubular adenoma, or sizable growth in her colon. If left untreated, adenomas can become cancerous. Clara was told she needed her growth surgically removed.

“They told me the problem was caught early,” said Clara. “I felt lucky we caught it when we did.”

Southwestern Medical Clinic General Surgeon, Roy Winslow, MD, performed Clara’s colonoscopy. He told her she was a candidate for da Vinci robotic assisted surgery.  The system uses robotic technology, allowing surgeons like Dr. Winslow to operate using a few small incisions.

“It mimics our hand movements using tiny instruments inside the patient’s body,” said Dr. Winslow. “It’s extremely precise, and allows for a much easier recovery period.”

“I think that was the thing I was most concerned about, because I’m self-employed,” said Clara.  “I didn’t want to be out of work for an extended period.”

Clara says the surgery went so well she was up and moving the same day. “Dr. Winslow and his nurse came and visited me every day,” said Clara. ”They were very thorough while checking me out to make sure everything was ok.”  

Just two weeks later Clara was back seeing clients at her Studio C Salon in Three Oaks.  She says the job is going well, and she’s able to perform all her normal activities.

But the most important thing for Clara is that she has peace of mind about her health.  She’s thankful that one provider’s request to take preventative steps, led to her cure.

“I just can’t say enough about the quality of care I got at Lakeland,” said Clara.  “I feel like I got a second chance at life. I think if I had waited any longer I might not have a story to tell.  I won’t hesitate again the next time my provider asks me to get checked out.”

Colonoscopies are one of the main ways to detect colon cancer for early treatment. If you’re age 50 or older, talk to your primary care provider about getting an annual screening.


What is a colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy is a test to view the inside of your lower digestive tract (colon and rectum) using a camera attached to a flexible tube. During the test, small pieces of tissue may be removed for testing.

How often should you have a colonoscopy?

If you're at average risk for colon cancer you should have a colonoscopy every 10 years, starting at age 50. A colonoscopy may be performed earlier and more often in people at increased risk.

Are colonoscopies able to detect cancer?

Yes, colonoscopies can successfully detect and remove polyps and identify cancerous cells at an early stage when they are most easily treated. Recent data shows that both the number of new cases of colon cancer and deaths from the disease are decreased when colonoscopy is performed according to established guidelines.


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